Private equity group Palladium Equity Partners has announced that it has acquired Castro Cheese Company, the Houston-based producer of Hispanic cheeses and creams which markets the La Vaquita brand. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.


Palladium said that the company’s founder Maria Castro would be retiring as president, but would continue with company as a director and advisor. Palladium operating executive J. Robert Hall, an investor in food-related industries and an industry veteran who has worked for Nabisco, Kraft and Nestlé, is to serve as interim CEO until a permanent chief executive is appointed.


“The La Vaquita brand is well known throughout Texas for the high quality and authenticity of its products,” said Palladium managing director Alex Ventosa. “Castro Cheese has established a 30-year track record of growth and development, maintaining the quality of their all-natural cheeses and creams while expanding their portfolio of branded dairy products.”


Ventosa added that Castro was a profitable company with a “strong management team and talented employees”. Palladium plans to pursue expansion for the company through new markets, new retail channels, and the introduction of new products, Ventosa said.


Maria Castro said: “Our company can celebrate over thirty years of growth and success because we have kept our heritage as an Hispanic company making authentic products of the highest quality as a central part of everything we do. I am delighted to welcome Palladium, a firm with a distinctive focus on companies that serve the market for Hispanic products and services, as our partner. They have a strong track record as an investor in food businesses and are well-positioned to support our growth as we seek to introduce our La Vaquita products to a broader market while preserving the character that has made us successful.”


Castro Cheese grew on the back of the popularity of the authentic Queso Fresco cheese which Maria Castro first produced at her home in Houston and sold to neighbours. Having emigrated from Mexico in 1971, Castro set up production in her garage before expanding into larger facilities in Houston and incorporated Castro Cheese Company in 1977.